Monday, January 25, 2010

Freud & Structural Theory

Three internal structures guide personality functioning - the id, ego, and superego.

Id: the seat of primitive drives and instinctual needs
  • impulses
  • primary process thinking
  • unconscious
  • discharges tension
Ego: the mediator between drives (id) & external reality, the moderator between drives (id) & internalized prohibition (superego); the ego has an adaptive capacity in relation to external reality
  • Functions of the ego:
  • reality testing
  • judgment
  • modulating and controlling impulses
  • modulating affect
  • object relations
  • regulating self-esteem
  • mastering development challenges
Superego: the seat of the conscience & the ego ideals, the moral authority
  • uses internal and external rewards or punishments to control and regulate id impulses

Five Psychosocial Stages

1. Oral: birth - 2 years. The focus of gratification is the mouth (through nursing as well as exploring one's world by putting objects in the mouth). Weaning is an important experience during this stage, as it teaches the child about loss, and the lack of immediate gratification.

2. Anal: 2-3 years. The key experience here is toilet training, which forces some reconciliation between the id (which desires immediate gratification, easily found through eliminating upon desire in diapers) and the parents.

3. Phallic: 4-6 years. The focus of gratification in this stage is the gentials. The gratification found in this stage is not adult sexuality, but exploration. The key experience/conflict in this stage is the Oedipal Conflict, in which the child desires the attention of a parent and recognizes the other parent as a source of competition. The id is suppressed by the ego in this stage.

4. Latency: 7-10 years. Sexual drives lay dormant in this stage as the id has been suppressed by the ego. In the latency stage, pleasure is related to secondary process thinking and is no longer related to immediate gratification.

5. Genital: 11 years +: This stage lasts from puberty through the rest of development. The major task of this stage is detaching from the parents & finding appropriate sexual outlets.

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